S3 Revisited: Only Three Words?

Could You Say It In Only Three Words?

Great episode, wasn’t it? When I watched again, I hurriedly jotted down one great speech after another, but I couldn’t get myself to write down observations or feelings or anything like that. You see, I was too busy watching and enjoying.

Enjoying what? Ah, Carina, of course. DEA Agent Miller is an incredible character. And since I happened to see actress Mini Anden just yesterday playing a very different character in an episode of NCIS, I have great respect for her abilities too. I enjoy how she shakes up Sarah, and Chuck, and mostly Morgan.

An episode that starts with the line Los Angeles has all the cultural panache of a port-a-potty. has got to be good.

I know why I took down so many quotes. It’s because the characters tell us so much. Do you want to know exactly where Chuck stands with Sarah? Ask Carina. She’ll tell you.

Carina: You’re sleeping with him!
Sarah: We have a very professional relationship.
Carina: (surprised) Oh!
Sarah: What!
Carina: Nothing. – You’re just really into him. That’s all.
Sarah: Can we please not talk about Chuck?
Carina: (pauses) Oh My God, Walker!
Sarah: What?!
Carina: You broke the cardinal rule of spying, didn’t you!

Clue brick – incoming! If Carina’s words didn’t tell you, Sarah’s slamming the drink down (and then slamming it down on the bar – heh!) certainly did. Viewers wondered all summer and fall how Chuck’s re-intersecting would affect the way Sarah thinks about him. Well, we found out here, for sure, that even if there were serious complications, she still loves the boy. Good. Now, Sarah, will you PLEASE tell him?

‘Shipper fans that we are, we always enjoy seeing signs that Sarah has strong feelings for Chuck. Easily missed, though, were the reasons that Sarah was having such a hard time with them. Her visceral reactions are telling.

There’s a scene when Karl joins Chuck, Sarah and Carina, and is introduced as Carina’s fiancé. When Karl leaves and Chuck is told that he’s just Carina’s mark, she’s incensed to find that Chuck thought she was really in love with the guy.

Carina: Do you think I am an idiot? It’s the cardinal rule. Spies don’t fall in love.

Okay. Chuck is convinced, and as far as his relationship with Sarah is concerned, he should resign himself to his roll and his fate. You can almost hear him say “Yeah, yeah. I know. You don’t have to tell me twice. Or half a dozen times, as the case might be…” But notice that when Carina says this, it’s Sarah who looks like she’s been punched in the gut. That’s visceral.

This episode is full of things like that. Sarah is pained over having to hide her emotions, and seems to be sad and wistful over the prospect when she asks Carina the same question she once asked Casey.

Sarah: Do you ever wonder about a different life?
Carina: You mean, like if all this was real? Hmmm – if we were really getting ready for my engagement party?
Sarah: Yeah.
Carina: (pauses) Naw!
(and chambers a round in her 38.)

Sarah can be professional, though, and play her role. The truth bubbles up despite her best efforts when Chuck and Sarah fall back into their familiar boyfriend/girlfriend cover.

Sarah: Congratulations! You are going to have the most amazing life!
Chuck: You are a very lucky man, Karl.
Karl: Thanks, Chuck. I’m sure you’re going to be next up the alter.
Chuck: (laughs) I’d be the happiest guy in the world.
Sarah: (laughs) He really would be!

See what happens, Chuck, when you try to tempt Sarah? She’ll throw it back in your face.

Or is she agreeing with you? I can’t tell, and neither can Chuck. That’s a device, a way to keep us just a little concerned and just a little worried about their relationship.

It’s not news to us that Carina has Sarah pegged. So does Ellie, Morgan, Casey, Devon, General Beckman, Big Mike… the list goes on to include a few baddies too I believe, like Pita Girl (Marlin) and Smooth Lau (Best Friends). Carina just likes to be direct about her intel.

Carina: What the hell are you doing to my mission? You and Sarah are supposed to be the happy couple.
Chuck: Look – Ever since I got back from Prague Sarah’s been so cold…
Carina: Oh you idiot! The reason Sarah’s cold is because she loves you.

The only surprising thing is that Carina is the one person Chuck seems to believe. The others, he discounts.  Every time I’m confronted by a 6′ Swedish-type supermodel/spy, I believe her too.

We’ve gone over the next (brilliant) scene before in detail, the scene that leads to Chuck’s death-bed confession ending with him collapsing in Sarah’s arms saying the three words. Ernie’s analysis is still amazing. Like Sarah, we hear the speech in two parts, and only after putting the two together do we realize that Chuck is trying to explain why he couldn’t run away with Sarah in Prague and that Sarah didn’t hear him. Did you realize that there is a third part, that comes between?

When Karl comes to the Buy More and forces Carina into the van, he plays a different part of the recording on the car’s video system. We hear Chuck say I’m not like Carina – some cold hearted spy that throws around words like love. If only Sarah had heard that part.

What we didn’t understand then, but do now, is Sarah reasons for acting the way she did afterwards. But at that time we only understood that Sarah knew she has a problem.

Sarah: It’s about me managing Chuck, and keeping his emotions in check, so that the intersect can work. I’m beginning to think that I’m more a part of the problem than the solution. And I think a different agent might have more success in training him.

General Beckman sees it differently, tells Sarah to “get over it and teach Chuck to be a real spy.” We see it now as an open invitation to introduce Daniel Shaw. It is, perhaps, Sarah’s biggest mistake.

In anger, Sarah tries to do just what the General says – train Chuck. In the most emotionally intense scene to date, we see the training session end in abject failure.

Sarah: (shouting) You want to be a spy, you need to act like one!
Chuck: It doesn’t work, okay. It’s not working. I’m – too emotional.
Sarah: The trick is to ignore your emotions. Spies do NOT have feelings. Feelings get you killed. You need to learn to bury them in a place deep inside.
Chuck: Sarah – stop.
Sarah: (shouting) Come-on! Flash! Show me your attack skills!
Chuck: (putting down his bo) No.
Sarah: (demanding) Why not?
Chuck: Because I don’t want to hurt you.
Sarah painfully sends Chuck to the deck.
Sarah: Don’t worry, Chuck. You can’t.

It’s hard to not see that Sarah’s the one who’s failing. She’s not only failing at training Chuck, she’s failing to control the emotions she can no longer bury. Every word she utters returns to her like a well thrown boomerang.

Sarah may not want Chuck to be “professional”, but he does. She knows, or will soon, that he wants to help the world. Sarah loves him and will do anything she can to help him attain his goal. But she is angry and frustrated because no matter what she does, Chuck’s happiness is in conflict with hers, and with theirs as a couple. The naive boy doesn’t see it. Does he? Back at the fountain, the place where truth is told…

Karl: Shoot me, or shoot her. I don’t care. Bitch has broken my heart. She dies!
Chuck: I get it, Okay? You took a chance – you, you love someone, maybe for the first time in your life. All you’ve ever done before is – is shut off your feelings. You bury them, deep down inside because in your profession, in your line of work, it’s a liability, right? It can certainly – be a liability.
And I know – I know that you think you messed up your life because you opened up your heart. But maybe you helped her open up her heart in the process. Maybe because you love her, she’ll learn how to love too.

Well, not the best Chuck-speech (ugh!), but watch the camera work. Chuck is behind and to the left of Sarah, and the focus shifts between them so our attention is drawn, not to Chuck’s words, but on the affect they have on Sarah. Like Elvis Costello sang, Chuck’s aim is true; his words hit home.

In typical Chuck fashion, Carina’s warning to Chuck and Sarah proves to be a true lie, even for her. Carina, that living example of the emotionally un-involved spy, gets herself smitten by – Morgan, of all people. Well, maybe not permanently, but wonderfully.  Hey! Did we know that Carina’s last name was Miller before this?  The first annoying, hanging mystery of season 3.0 is that weapon. I don’t think it’s the lock box that Shaw opens in First Class, and even Carina isn’t told what it is.

The Three Words holds up very well to re-watching.  I can’t help but notice that this episode seems to end for me right here, on this happy note, with Morgan and Carina. What remains, though is the rest of the season, which begins moments later, when Sarah hears the rest of Chuck’s speech. She’s already heard “Sarah, I love you.” What she hears now is how much Chuck hated his old loser-life, and how much he wants to live a real life now, a life that has meaning. It’s the life Chuck thinks she’s led, the very one that Sarah has found to be “not real”.  That giant sucking sound is Sarah realizing that Chuck wants the one thing that could keep her from him.  He wants to change.

No, Sarah will not tell him; she will not destroy his dreams. Sarah loves him too much for that.

– joe


About joe

In my life I've been a professor, martial artist, rock 'n roller, rocket scientist, lover, poet and brain surgeon. I'm lying about the brain surgery.
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90 Responses to S3 Revisited: Only Three Words?

  1. Crumby says:

    I really enjoyed having Carina back, and I’m not the only one considering the results of the guest stars poll: we like her.

    She’s not only really fun, she opens a door on Sarah’s feelings that is really interesting for us. She did it in Wookie as well.

  2. DaveB says:

    Yvonne’s idea of a fashion shoot would work so well with her and Mini being the bitchy supermodels, Chuck as the effete photographer (perhaps reprising his role as Lichtenstein, only this time he really can speak German), and Morgan and Casey as the demanding, and effete, fashion designers.

    Milan would never be the same again…

    I thought Carina taking Sarah to task for breaking the cardinal rule of spying was somewhat disingenuous. It shouldn’t have been a surprise for Carina, she knew Sarah had fallen for Chuck years ago, and had fallen for Bryce years before that. Emotionally, Carina is Yin to Sarah’s Yang. As such, she presents a magnifying glass to what Sarah is dealing with internally. Carina doesn’t seem care about what is happening around her; she is focused on getting the job done, and her own pleasure in getting it done. Sarah, on the other hand, is focused on getting the job done, but as so ably taught by her dad, what happens to her doesn’t matter. Broken arm? Hey, at least we got the cash.

    I’d like to see Carina come back as a test of the new Chuck-Sarah reality. Not as someone who could break it up, but to show that the yin-yang dynamic no longer exists. Because of Chuck, Sarah is confident in her being loved for who she is. Because of Sarah, Chuck is confident in his abilities, not as intersect, but simply as Chuck. I think it would shake Carina to her core, and seeing a vulnerable Carina would be something else…

    • Crumby says:

      I think it was a surprise for Carina that Sarah had fallen for Chuck. Sure she knew Sarah liked Chuck, she told us in Wookie, she knew Bryce was her boyfriend but I don’t think they really were in love, but Carina didn’t realised how deep it was. How could she? She doesn’t really understand love.

      I think in that scene she realises how “compromised” Sarah is. I mean first she think C&S are sleeping together, nothing’s wrong about that as a spy. Then she said “you’re really into him”, she’s surprised why would Sarah not admit it. Sarah had obviously did in the past about Bryce. So it is different with Chuck. And BAM! “Oh my god, Walker! You broke the cardinal rule, didn’t you?!”

    • 904 says:

      “I thought Carina taking Sarah to task for breaking the cardinal rule of spying was somewhat disingenuous. It shouldn’t have been a surprise for Carina, she knew Sarah had fallen for Chuck years ago, and had fallen for Bryce years before that.”

      Maybe that’s the point, though. This is actually serious “love,” not what she had with Bryce. The viewer (especially new viewers) is being reminded that Sarah’s taken a big risk by crossing that line. This guy must really be something — like no one she’s ever met.

    • Crumby says:

      I like your idea of Carina coming back “as a test of the new Chuck-Sarah reality.”
      Vulnerable Carina would definitely be something else. Plus now she has history with Corgan! lol

      They have to bring her back if we’re lucky enough to have a season 4.

    • odysszeuss says:

      well seeing chuck speaking german, that really would be nice 😉 Sarah in the wienerlicious szene was ok to unterstand. it was kind of cute…

    • Waverly says:

      That’s a great idea, DaveB. More complications might also arise if Morgan is back with Anna, who is also an untraditional (irregular?) spy.

  3. Paul says:

    Knowing what we know now, I see the last scene of Sarah in castle in a slightly different light. Yes she got to hear why Chuck didn’t go with her in Prague, and that he still loves her. But I also now see guilt in her face. Guilt that she put him on this path in the first place with her encouragment and she knows EXACTLY where it’s going and what the outcome is going to be.

    • weaselone says:

      Well, except that Sarah doesn’t actually KNOW, she just thinks she does. Sarah interprets Chuck’s actions in the worst possible light throughout the season. Ironically, for a show that many authoritatively claim is shot through Chuck’s eyes, Chuck’s actions and the interpretations of them are largely viewed through the lenses of other characters. Sarah, Casey, Shaw, Ellie, Morgan, Awesome and Hannah provide an incredibly lopsided view of Chuck’s transformation, one that is solely counterbalanced this season by Levi’s emoting.

    • Josh says:

      IMO it was more despair than guilt (maybe cause I haven’t yet been sold on the self loathing Sarah theory).

      But anyways, that scene was Sarah realizing Chuck had set himself on the very path she tried to avoid with her lets run away plan. So she basically was stuck with a variation of the same choices she had when Chuck came across Jill and Lou. Do I support him in what he wants (even though I don’t like what he wants) or do I make my stand? And Sarah chose the same way she had chosen previously, to support Chuck in what he wanted. And that sucked for her, cause I m sure during three words it became as apparent to Sarah as to Carina that she wasn’t “over” Chuck (like she thought in Pink Slip)

  4. Geoff says:

    Have we had any explanation yet of the scene near the end in Beckman’s office where she says to a man holding a lighter:

    “We can’t keep this a secret any more. It’s too dangerous. We need to tell them, they need to be prepared. Shaw. Please.”

    And why was she behaving in an almost subservient manor to him?

    • Josh says:

      That scene wasn’t in three words, it was in angel de la muerte.
      Anyways, yeah that guy was Shaw and it was a setup for the events in OP Awesome.

      • Merve says:

        That scene actually was in “Three Words,” right after Chuck offers to flash on the weapon.

      • atcdave says:

        Yeah, it was Three Words. I don’t think we ever got a definite interpretation; my guess would be it ties into Operation Awesome and the way Shaw is introduced. Its one of those scenes (among many this season) that doesn’t really tie make into the story very well. At this point, I would guess we’ll never really know unless a deleted scene later makes it more clear; or maybe someone can ask about it at a con.

    • Yeefiver says:

      It has always been my opinion that Beckman’s concern to Shaw was regarding the use of civilians in an operation in general and Awesome in particular. Shaw put Awesome’s life in danger by planting misinformation about Awesome being a spy to the Ring.
      Think about it-how could the Ring’s intel be so wrong abot Awesome? Either the Ring is totally incompetent or they were deliberately fed false info by Shaw.
      A reason for my theory on this is that Shaw was willing to use another civilian-Hannah- in the ‘Mask.’
      If you recall, when the museum director invited Chuck and Hannah back to the museum for the opening of the mask exhibit, Shaw told Chuck to accept the invite for both he and Hannah.
      But both Sarah and Casey had concerns about using a civilian for the museum operation when the team was planning their mask switch.
      Also, when Chuck secured the antidote, his concern was getting the antidote to Sarah and Shaw in time, but Casey told him to concentrate on saving the civilian’s life instead.

      • atcdave says:

        The only problem with that theory (and yes, I just agreed with you above, but much of this season is sloppy) is that Devon doesn’t seem to be pegged by The Ring as CIA until the end of Angel of Death; and the circumstances don’t really allow for outside manipulation. Maybe we’re supposed to think info had already been leaked prior to Devon saving Goya twice, but we really aren’t told anything.

  5. Ernie Davis says:

    The only surprising thing is that Carina is the one person Chuck seems to believe.

    The thing is that Carina was always more open with Chuck about his situation and her motives than Sarah ever was. It was Carina that clued him about Sarah and Bryce, for her own reasons of course, but it did open his eyes a bit. Carina, when trying to seduce Chuck didn’t hide her motives or exactly what she was offering, nothing more than a good time. And it was Carina that clued Chuck in on what he could expect from Sarah and why. Sarah was still occasionally dangling herself as a prize for Chuck’s cooperation as late as Seduction, though you could see it was wearing on them both since they both knew there were real feelings involved by that point.

    Although Season 2 didn’t seem to need her, I think Carina needs to blow through town once or twice a season from now on.

    • BeCoolBoy says:

      Well, I think Chuck getting a .9 last night pretty much ensures there won’t be an more seasons. It means NBC can’t maximize the return on the license fee it pays because reruns are a disaster. Even Trauma outdrew Chuck, as did a rerun of Law and Order at 10pm.

      If Chuck, a bubble show, is also a one-run only show, Chuck is toast.

      • Rick Holy says:

        If it barely gets above a 2 during “first run” episodes against the likes of DWTS, HOUSE, and CBS Comedies, it should certainly come as no surprise that it would get around a 1 during “re-runs.”

        If they DO actually bring the show back as a mid-season replacement or whatever, they would have to be INSANE to put it back AGAIN in the same time slot. You know that old definition of insanity – you do the same thing over and over and somehow keep expecting a different result? It just aint gonna happen for Chuck on Monday’s at 8/7 p.m. Just aint. And that’s the proven fact after almost 3 years.

        If they “roll the dice” and go for a fourth season, it would HAVE to be on another night. If it isn’t, then insanity rules the programming decisions at the last place network.

        Anyway, I’m going to tune in and enjoy the back six. If they’re the final six, then so be it. Remember, Jesus brought Lazarus back from the dead ONCE. Lazarus eventually died (again). I think we could apply the same to CHUCK. As much as I’d LOVE to see it brought back from the brink again, it’s not looking good.

      • John says:

        Frankly who knows Father Rick. NBC made it very clear they expected a ratings massacre when they put it in that time slot to begin with and for awhile they were happily surprised with what they got. But the last month plus has been brutal.

        Anyway looking forward to the back six and continuing to hope for better things.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        How a comment on Carina turned into a discussion of ratings and renewal I’ll never know, but my guess is that the first four episodes back will determine the fate of the show. I think they have to show at least a modest increase for even a replacement pickup.

      • Merve says:

        The way I see it, NBC knows that no matter what, new episodes of Chuck will consistently pull a 2.0 to a 2.2. If NBC has a potential big hit on its hands that it thinks can do better, then Chuck is toast. Otherwise, they’ll probably just renew it as a mid-season replacement and drop it back in the same brutal time slot. (I mean, heck, not even How I Met Your Mother is doing as well as I think it could be doing in another time slot.)

      • John says:

        HIMYM is jumping the shark this season, that is the main reason its ratings are slipping.

      • Stef62 says:

        If you watch ZL’s thank you vid on the E online vote, he was making hopeful noises about an s4.

        It may be that there have been things happening behinds the scenes that we are not privvy too, that make things more likely than it may look on the surface

      • John says:

        Yeah the insiders still seem optimistic about the show’s chances.

        But hey bad ratings, even in that brutal bloodbath of a timeslot and on repeats, still make me nervous.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I guess the hopeful thing, if they ever took anything other than raw numbers into account, is that the Chuck fan base seems solid, well educated, heavily tech savvy, very present online, well organized, tolerant, or even encouraging of product placement and very positively disposed towards supporting sponsors. That should be an advertisers demographic wet dream if you’ll pardon the crude analogy.

      • Merve says:

        I think they’re optimistic because renewing Chuck seems like a smart business idea to them. Think of it this way. If Chuck is renewed as a mid-season replacement, NBC will put something else on at 8 PM in the fall. If that show tanks, then they have Chuck to air in that time slot, and Chuck will pull around a 2.0 for its 13 episode run. If that show is successful, then NBC can just keep it there. Then they can use Chuck to fill any holes in their winter schedule. How Chuck does in this new time slot would demonstrate whether previous low ratings were due to low popularity or high competition.

      • John says:

        I guess I do have to admit I do buy Subway for every Monday night. I certainly have never done anything like that for another show.

        I do almost all my electronics shopping at Best Buy even if they are just an expy.

        I am easily brainwashed if I like the show enough.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Remember, with 3.14 you essentially have a new show. The spy couple and the odd couple. I think the new direction and the numbers for it will be important. If they were basing Chuck on most of this season I doubt they’d stand a chance. From late January on TPTB were practically begging the fan base to stick with them for a transition to an epic payoff. And many didn’t.

      • Stef62 says:

        Anyone want to hazard a guess on much it cost to finance a ‘full’ season?

      • atcdave says:

        I do think expectations have to be low for a re-run in this slot; but even so 0.9 is never good. Hopefully we’ll get enough promotion people will know when a “new and improved” show starts up on 4/26. Maybe their tag line should be “OK, OK, mister nice spy is back!”

      • Jason says:

        since we are on ratings I have a 3.14 item, the lady vanishes (1938) was mentioned by chris fedak when describing 3.14, it is on hulu if anyone is interested, definitely a mystery set on a train solved by a young couple. I also watched “the thin man’ (1934) this weekend. Just a hoot, there are 5 more in the series which I plan on getting, never going to make fun of any grandma aged lady named myrna again, she was absolutely great in the show (Myrna Loy)

      • Stef62 says:

        Does that make Morgan, Asta the dog?

      • Jason says:

        stef – LOL – you know your thin man trivia, that is not an answer I would have known a week ago – maybe chuck and sarah need to get a pet,
        Asta is a great addition in the thin man.

      • joe says:

        I also watched “the thin man’ (1934) this weekend. Just a hoot, there are 5 more in the series which I plan on getting…

        Jason, Do it! I love every one of The Thin Man series. Powell and Loy were every bit as amazing together as Zac and Yvonne will be in the next six episodes.

        Man, now I feel dumb. All this time I’ve been thinking (with a small measure of disappointment) that we were going to see something like Hart to Hart coming up. I thought that show was okay, but not great.

        But if it’s more like The Than Man stuff, I’ll be ecstatic. For the un-initiated, they were a slightly mis-matched but very much in love, married sleuths. And their dog, Asta, often stole the show the same way Morgan Grimes does. Very smart, sophisticated comedy-adventure.

      • atcdave says:

        Ditto all on The Thin Man. They managed a quick pace, fun sense of humor, while clearly being a couple in love. It was never mean spirited, always in fun.

        Oh yeah, the movies were so popular they made six theatrical appearences and later became a TV series. All that without angst or love triangles.

    • Jason says:

      I really liked 3.2 on second viewing, alot. Knowing where the arc is headed however, I must say, 3.2 is probably what made the arc so hard to watch, 3.2 really is a hopeful episode, TPTB took 11 more episodes to deliver on that hopeful promise. Many, many Nielson boxes shut off the show during that time, many, many casual fans did not take the time to retcon some whacky explanation why, they just quit watching the epically woeful journey that resulted in the epic finale.

      • atcdave says:

        I’m agreeing with you a lot today Jason. I mostly liked Three Words when it first ran; it was hopeful and seemed to repair most of the damage done in 3.01. But by 3.07 it seemed to be a false hope. Even those of us who knew things would end well were pretty discouraged at that point, they really made a lie of the Three Words. With Chuck and Sarah both finally claiming they’ve been in love for a long time, it ultimately makes most of this season pointless.

      • Paul says:

        Dave I would disagree. Just because they were in love with each other, doesn’t mean that they thought they could be together.

      • atcdave says:

        Paul, I think it fails the stink test. It creates an unpleasent situation that isn’t what a significant portion of the audience wants to see. The writers became so wrapped up in telling the story they wanted they forgot their obligation to entertain, and the dwindling ratings are proof enough of their failed concept.

        There are so many better ways this season could have been handled. Even if they were determined to keep Chuck and Sarah apart romantically, they could have made the “friends” decision look like they meant it. Chuck dealing with the ugly side of spy life while learning new skills; would have played out just fine with Sarah as his counceler and mentor. In fact, it would have made the decision to get back together that much more believable. Sarah would know that Chuck had retained his humanity through it all, and Chuck would have a real appreciation for what Sarah has done and how she feels about it.

  6. Rick Holy says:

    O.K., Ernie. To transition back to Carina from ratings, here we go. If we DO get another season, they’ve GOT to bring Carina back. In just two episodes she added so much to the show. She has great interaction with all four of the “main” characters: Chuck, Sarah, Casey and Morgan. Not often you can get that out of one guest star/character. If the stars are aligned and we do survive to an S4, heck bring her in for at least a 3 episode arc. She and Casey obviously had a “thing” at one point in their past (even if only a one night stand). Bring her back and let them mix it up again. She’s a great addition all the way around.

    Hindsight is always 20/20, but this season could have done with a couple of fewer episodes of Shaw and a couple more of Carina!! Nothing against Brandon Routh – it’s just that the Shaw story arc was dragged out tooooo long.

    • Jason says:

      rick – I never realized the great plot line – a love triangle , Casey – Morgan – carina – heck (maybe add in casey’s ex for a quadrangle) – that would be so funny – the combinations are near endless (could you see casey going to sarah for love advice???)

      • Rick Holy says:

        Add in Anna and make it what? A Pentagon?? 😉

        See. Love geometric shapes – if they’re done right – can actually be rather good, quite funny, and even CONTRIBUTE to the enjoyment of a show!!

  7. Warp says:

    This episode is just one reason why I like the third season, just remove the Hannah part and the ridiculous (non-)relationship between Sarah and Shaw and I would be really satisfied… What? It’s to late for that… Oooh…

    Still, I think Sarah’s behaviour in S3 is perfectly and completely understandable – She feels for Chuck but he hurt her big time.
    Carina’s words to him are absolutely on target: cold because she loves him. The Bo scene underlined that even more (I would’ve wished a little more drama there: What if Sarah had answered “You already did” [hurt her]). Another great little scene is, when Sarah says “It’s quite a mess we made” and “You’re on your own with the courtyard” at the end of e2 > Think about all the things that this implies (WOW, one stronger scripts this season)
    Still, many are right: the arc afterwards was just too long and “sometimes” just made no sense at all…

    Anyway, I’m content with things worked out. I just hope that Sarah does not become the dumb (loving) sidekick of Chuck – and please, keep a little fire burning…

  8. kg says:


    From the first time I heard Sarah say “He really would be,” I totally believed she was serious and sincere.

    I guess it was both. You could tell by her sarcastic laugh that she’s well aware of how happy she would have made Chuck. And this is a remark intended to tell Chuck that she thinks he was an idiot and complete fool for walking away from her that day on the platform in Prague.

    • kg says:

      And I think Chuck knew exactly what he was doing by tempting Sarah. He wanted to gauge how she felt. He was certainly looking for some kind of emotional response by pushing her buttons with his own remark.

    • Sole says:

      I’ve always thought she was being sarcastic, because at that point she believed he didn’t loved her enought, but now i think you’re right. Gonna watch it once more….

    • Merve says:

      I just see that line as another example of Sarah’s bitchiness and cruelty. I think that at that point, she has some idea that Chuck is sort of chasing after her again, but in her eyes, Chuck only wants her back because the whole spy thing didn’t work out so well. Of course, Sarah being Sarah, instead of confronting Chuck about it, she bottles it up and only lets it out in the form of mean comments.

    • joe says:


      When I read what I wrote, I think it comes off too confident. I’m not 100% convinced that I really understand what Sarah/Yvonne was trying to get across. But at various times I’ve felt just about all of what you guys just said.

      It’s really an ambiguous line. Isn’t it? Ever have one of those hanging in the air around you? I have. It’s weird when it happens, like someone wants to say something and doesn’t at the same time.

    • Crumby says:

      I heard that line as something like “you had your chance…”

  9. JLR says:

    Watching this episode again (didn’t watch it as it aired last night) didn’t make me like “whiny Chuck” any more than I did before. Take way his incessant need to talk relationship while on-mission in the mansion, and I’d like this ep. a lot more.

    I also haven’t seen much conversation about this point (but I haven’t been here much the past week), but doesn’t Chuck’s emotional decision in American Hero to quit the CIA all b/c he couldn’t get Sarah kind of undermine his “for the greater good” motivation for being a spy?

    • BeCoolBoy says:

      Sometimes the needs of the one outweigh the needs of the few or the many?

      • JLR says:

        In this scenario, how does his decision to quit b/c Sarah doesn’t want to be w/ him (from his POV), address his “needs”? I’d think that if he lost Sarah, he’d actually throw himself into work all the more. In Tic-Tac we saw him very interested in the Laudinol, thinking it could help him control the intersect, and in we’ve seen plenty of examples of his stated desire to be a spy. From his POV, quitting CIA would have done nothing to help WRT attaining Sarah.

      • atcdave says:

        I think mission/duty and love are competing priorities for many of us. Ideally they complement each other; because one is successful in career it is easier to earn and maintain a family. But we all know there are times when they conflict; whether the hours are too much, too much travel is involved, or a re-location is involved. Any of those things could require choices. I think most of us would agree, love is usually worth more than money, but there’s any number of reasons we could make a decision that defies common wisdom.

        Sorry, I got long winded; for Chuck the two issues are clearly inter-related. Sarah personifies the job, the principles, and the service. At the end of S2 Chuck choose to embrace what he thought were Sarah’s values. He misjudged because Sarah was looking to have a normal life (with him). So the writers gave us a mostly unenjoyable season while Chuck figured that out.

      • JC says:

        What I always found odd about his fascination with the Laudinol was that in the previous episode his conversation with Morgan about it being alright to love Sarah. Now he wants something that suppresses all emotions. That never made sense to me.

      • atcdave says:

        We saw it was pretty short term. Even in a happy stable relationship with Sarah there might be times when its advantageous to shut off the emotions. Of course the pill seems to be a bit more than that; he became psychotic (no morals, not quite the same thing as no emotions), which is another thing entirely.

      • Crumby says:

        Yeah I think Chuck’s interest in the Laudanol really was mission related, like a vitamin he could take beforehand, and that will not have a very long effect.

        And it’s probably because he doesn’t really now how to control his ability to flash and he knows it is dangerous for him, but for others as well (he wasn’t able to defend Sarah in Fake Name).

      • JC says:

        I do get it was only short term, but it really felt like just another anvil in the way of the inevitable C/S reunion. I mean he conveniently can’t flash against 4 or 5 agents, when he was perfectly ok at the end of the beard.

      • Crumby says:

        I don’t think he couldn’t flash without the pill. He just was scared not to and took the pill before knowing if he would have flash or not.

    • Merve says:

      You’re right, JLR, Chuck’s decision kind of undermines his original justification for becoming a spy. But I think the idea is that in Chuck’s ideal scenario, he would be able to both help save the world and be with Sarah. In “American Hero,” he realized that being with Sarah was more important to him than trying to save the world.

      That being said, I hope that the back six touch on Chuck and Sarah’s sense of duty, and whether they truly want to remain spies. I’m fine with how that aspect of their development has been handled up until now*; I just think we need a little closure on that front.

      *Barring Sarah’s sudden desire for a “normal life” in “Crown Vic” and Chuck’s really weird 360 in “Ring,” of course.

      • BeCoolBoy says:

        I guess it’s obvious that Chuck and Sarah will commit to being spies because, well, the show is the show. Yes?

        But I would dispute with you the notion that Chuck and Sarah’s reactions are “sudden.” In fact, if you read back on this blog, lizjames was predicting that one of the Season 3 flips would be that Chuck would be the eager one and Sarah would be the reluctant one. And that was MONTHS before the storyline for the season leaked out.

        In the first two years, both had vaguely admired the other’s life. Chuck had the Charles Carmichael fantasy long before the Intersect and Sarah’s desire for a normal life goes all the way back to the first pilot on 12/06. And there was her bravura performance as housewife in Suburbs, which was clearly painful for her when she realized at the end she couldn’t have it.

      • Merve says:

        BeCoolBoy, I see how Chuck’s 360 in “Ring” can be explained. The end of “Third Dimension” is a good indication that Chuck sort of wants to be part of the spy life, for example. But that doesn’t negate the fact that he rejected the spy life more than once during “Ring.”

        I’m not disputing that Sarah clearly wanted a normal life in season 2. But her question to Casey in “Crown Vic” came out of nowhere. When I watched the series for the first time, I didn’t even get an inkling that Sarah wanted a normal life until maybe “Marlin,” and it took until “Suburbs” for me to be convinced of that. (I’m sorry, but I don’t consider the original pilot script to be canon. Whatever was taken out of it was taken out for a reason.) But as for her actions in “Ring,” they made sense to me.

      • atcdave says:

        I do agree with Merve on the issue of canon. That unused script is brought up quite often. But one would normally assume the scene was cut for a reason. If we were supposed to think Sarah had a long term craving for a normal life, they needed to let us in on it sooner. I would add, given what we have learned about her childhood, she probably had no reference for a normal life prior to Chuck.

      • joe says:

        BeCoolBoy, I wrote something this morning that says almost exactly what you just said – but it won’t be out for a couple of days yet.

        Please don’t feel plagiarized, but do feel insightful when you see it.

      • BeCoolBoy says:

        Merve et. al.
        I take your point about the first pilot not being canon. I was making the point, however, that it was always clearly TPTB’s intentions to make Sarah an increasingly reluctant spy.

        As for when we first see it in CANON, I would suggest that it is Wookie, Episode 4. That is when Sarah tells Carina, “I’m good here.” And, as we know, what Sarah says in her cover life is what she really believes. And, of course, the “I’m good here” line returns in Three Words, when she tells Chuck, “I’m good here…for now.”

        So I would suggest only that Sarah’s feelings have been revealed gradually, not overtly…

      • BeCoolBoy says:

        The 12/06 pilot was not, strictly speaking, unused. It tells the same exact story as the filmed pilot. The one major change is the deletion of the other love interest for Chuck. The rest of the stuff (name changes, uniform color changes, et. al) are fairly minor. I guess the only other change of note is that the unfilmed pilot had Sarah working at the BuyMore, too, in the last scene. That got changed to showing her shopping at the BuyMore in the filmed pilot…

      • atcdave says:

        BCB, I take the difference to be one of self discovery. They may have originally meant for Sarah to be the reluctant spy; but the story we’ve gotten is more of a capable professional who has come to see and desire a different life. Perhaps early on, she didn’t recognize it herself beyond liking her current assignment. No doubt by Suburbs she was completely compromised, and was viewing her time with Chuck as her version of a normal life. Actually, I think everything from Truth on has some element of Sarah wrestling with various conflicting issues involving duty and love.

      • Crumby says:

        Where can I find this 12/06 pilot script?

    • Crumby says:

      I think by the time of American Hero Chuck’s decision to quit can be explained by:

      – He considers that he has failed his red test and doesn’t really deserve to be a spy.
      At the beginnig of the episode when he meets Beckman she said “For God’s sake, put that gun away. You’re a spy now.” and he answered “Well, that’s, that’s actually what I wanted to talk to you about, General.” Then she tells him about Rome, and he doesn’t feel ready.

      – He has seen that being a spy isn’t all that fun. Lying all the time, burning asset, killing people…
      He was interested by the Laudanol but has seen what it means to use it, he was pretty scared by himself after Sarah stopped him. He has seen what Sarah was warning him about in the first place.

      – Now that him going to Rome is very real, he realizes what it really means. He’s gonna leave his friends and family. People are gonna expect from him things he doesn’t wanna do, things he can’t do. He’s not gonna have Casey and Sarah to back him up. All he’s gonna have will be people like Shaw…

      – He knows that “he wants more, he wants a life” and that he need it to succeed and help people. He has failed as a spy in Prague. He has succeded thanks to Casey, Sarah and then Morgan. Without the real life he can’t be this super spy.

      I’m not entirely convinced by my own argumentation, but that’s the explanation that as work for me the best so far.

      • joe says:

        I think you should be convinced, Crumby. You just said a lot that I’ve been struggling to put to words myself. That was a great synopsis.

        The only thing I would add ATM is the consideration that Sarah is going through exactly the same thing from the other side.

      • Lucian says:

        You are getting at one of the major problems (IMO) with this season. That is, they are portraying Chuck as a complete neophyte who had no idea what he was committing to when he decided to be a spy. Between his experience as an asset for two years, and his experience in training for however long that was, I think a bright guy like Chuck should have figured out what he was signing up for. It is just like his “revelation” in The Beard that he really does love Sarah. The season has played as if the first two seasons didn’t exist.

      • caster says:

        I think that really Chuck wants to be a spy most importantly, he want to be a spy with Sarah but if given an ultimatum, he would choose Sarah over being a Spy. Sarah wants a normal life with Chuck but without chuck she would much rather stay being a spy.

      • Paul says:

        Crumby I think you nailed Chuck’s evoloution of understanding what being a spy was REALLY about in your post. Throughout S1 and S2, while Chuck was saying he wanted out and wanted a normal life, there is evidence that he actually liked what he was doing. It gave him a sense of purpose, he was doing important things, and most importantly, gave him access to Sarah. While he was in danger many time, he really only ever saw the glamorous side of spy work: the gala dinners, snazzy outfits, etc. He never saw the darker side, which is what he experienced in S3. And, IMHO, to Chuck, unless being a spy meant being with Sarah, it wasn’t worth it in the end.

      • Josh says:

        Chuck just had this romantic notion that he could be Sarah’s equal, while keeping Sarah and Casey around to deal with ugly stuff. Then he realized he couldn’t do that. Then he realized being a spy wasn’t as noble as he thought. Then he took his own advice, the one he gave Morgan in vs The Ring, Go with your heart, our brains only screw things up. The good thing that came out of his spy training and the whole season 3 events was that he finally had the confidence and perseverance to actually do that, instead of moping and going off on tangents.

      • Crumby says:

        Lucian, yeah I think Chuck should have known what he was signing for. That’s the part that isn’t totally convincing IMO.

        But there are differences between season 1/2 and 3 :
        – When he could whine about lying to people around him and blaming Bryce, the government or whoever he wanted when he was an asset, he is now responsible. He chose to be a spy, so he chose to lie to his friends and family.
        – When he could count on Casey and Sarah to take the hard decisions before, he also has to take responsability now. Like he did in Nacho Sampler, he can’t rely on them to do the dirty work. I don’t think he really realized what it meant even though he knew about it (he’s seen Sarah during the Mauser incident for example).
        – So Casey and Sarah did their job well and protected him not only from being killed but also from the dark side of the spy life. They also protected his social life covering for him, like with his Standford graduation for example.
        – And Chuck’s always been a little naive. He didn’t understand what Sarah was warning him about.

        So yeah I agree with you Paul, “he really only ever saw the glamorous side of spy work”.

        And yes Josh this season, Chuck took responsability for his own life, like Ellie asked him to do in Beefcake:
        “Chuck: Don’t worry, sis, it will all work itself out.
        Ellie: No, Chuck, it won’t. That’s what you always say, you know. You have to take control of your life if you want to move forward.”

      • Jason says:

        one fun part of the love mess in S3, chuck gave hannah exactly what sarah wanted – i.e. a normal life with ellie and awesome and sarah gave shaw exactly what chuck wanted – the DC spy couple life – yet neither chuck nor sarah were particularly into those lives they were about to embark in, you could argue because of who they were with, but a part of it seemed to be what they were when in those lives – will be very interesting what TPTB have cooked up to resolve the normal leave it to beaver home life vs power CIA spy couple.

      • odysszeuss says:

        jason: one fun part of the love mess in S3, chuck gave hannah exactly what sarah wanted – i.e. a normal life with ellie and awesome and sarah gave shaw exactly what chuck wanted – the DC spy couple life…

        => interesting view

  10. Faith says:

    In the immortal words of Stewie Griffin…


    60 comments? You guys are avid lol. Too many things to comment on so I’ll try to cut it short.

    Joe, your post made me sad. This was a very sad episode when it comes dow to it.

    Ratings nightmare!

    I didn’t see the normal life as something out of place…She’s been in love with Chuck for awhile before that. And Chuck when it comes down to it is a normal guy living a normal life. I don’t think she ever considered that before Chuck, much less with Bryce. The thing about finding that one is your interests, your priorities, your desires change. Chuck changed her when it comes down to it. Anyways agree with you guys…

    Did anyone else get Chuck’s speech to not only apply to Sarah but to himself as well? I don’t know I kind of saw it like that.

    While I agree Fr. Rick that a lot of the PLIs were dragged out too long, in fact I don’t think a lot of people will argue against that, I just don’t think I myself would ever like it. I just don’t see the point it it. You got what you wanted, they’re apart with Pink Slip. They’re devastated with all that went on in Prague. Let the healing begin then. Don’t kick us more when we’re already on the ground with Mask, etc.

    • joe says:

      Faith, Heh! You’re writing from the gut here, aren’t you?

      Yeah. When I first heard Chuck’s speech, I had to wonder for a bit who he was talking about. Was it Karl (to whom it was ostensibly directed?) or Carina (the object of the speech)? The camera work, focusing in turn on Sarah and on Chuck, told me Sarah heard every word, and took it as meant for her, but Chuck phrased it to be self-referential.

      So it was universal. It was meant for the audience to apply to themselves, which is fair enough.

      But decades ago, an English teacher of mine told my class that this was one definition of ‘didactic’. It becomes trite pretty quick, so the writers should use that kind of technique pretty sparingly.

      As for the sadness, you betcha. We saw this episode on Jan. 5, and after so many months without them, we were all very glad to see our characters back on screen. We were a happy bunch, and I think we missed how terribly sad the episode really was.

      • Jason says:

        watching made me recall how hopeful I felt that they would get back together, afterall carina told us that sarah loved chuck and chuck not only told us he loved sarah, but sarah heard it – trouble was by 3.5 chuck was all over hannah (even if not with her yet), and sarah never showed any movement to chuck (other than the silly non verbal thing shippers like me clung to) until 3.12. I’m still trying to figure out, sarah, massively pi$$ed about prague or slowly stewing over chuck becoming a ‘red testable’ spy – answer might be yes to both theories

      • weaselone says:

        How exactly was Chuck “all over Hannah” in 3.5? Were there intimate scenes which I missed?

      • Merve says:

        Yeah, it was Hannah who made a move on Chuck in “Mask.” Honestly, all of Chuck’s actions towards Hannah before then could be interpreted as Chuck just being a nice guy. (Unfortunately, once she did come on to him, he was all too eager to shove his tongue down her throat.)

      • weaselone says:

        Well, he did ask Sarah’s permission first…outside of the action in the museum.

      • Merve says:

        Yeah, that’s true, weaselone. I guess my issue with the Chuck-Hannah relationship was that Chuck just sort of let himself get dragged into it. It seemed almost as if he was with Hannah only because it made it easier to move on.

      • weaselone says:

        actually, I think that’s exactly why. Well, that and the desire on the part of the executive producers to have another round of PLI’s.

  11. Merve says:

    I rewatched this episode yesterday and I have a few observations:

    The Good:
    – Casey’s awkward speech at the engagement party.

    – Pretty much everything Karl and Carina did. Vinnie Jones and Mini Anden are awesome.

    – Jail juice.

    – The party storyline was really funny.

    – Seeing Chuck avoiding all the lasers in the vault was pretty cool.

    – I feel kind of stupid for laughing at the silly jokes about the Japanese language, but they’re funny every time, especially when Morgan says “Sayonara” to Carina.

    The bad:
    – Bitchy Sarah.

    – Whiny Chuck.

    – Obsessed-with-his-age Casey.

    – This isn’t really a gripe, but Lester was really stupid in this episode. First, he said that he didn’t see a ring on Carina’s finger, when she clearly had an engagement ring. Then, he referred to Underpants Etc. as “Underpants Unlimited.” I find it kind of hard to believe that there are two undergarment stores in the shopping plaza. Maybe he’s been drinking too much of Jeff’s jail juice…

    – The vault confession was beyond cheesy. It was just lame and it fell completely flat for me.

    – Sarah taking her anger out on Chuck during the training session was another scene that fell flat for me. It was way too melodramatic. Chuck doesn’t always do subtlety well, and the in-your-face nature of the show is part of its charm, but this was a scene that could have used a little more finesse.

    – Angst!Angst!Angst!Angst!Angst!Angst!Angst!

    I think that I liked this episode a lot less than the general fan response. I think it could have benefited from a little less focus on the angst and a little more focus on the spy stuff. Aside from what was on the discs that were retrieved from Karl, most of the issues raised in this episode have been resolved by now. On the whole, this episode didn’t really do much to advance the plot, and to be honest, upon rewatching and having seen the entire season up until now, it feels a bit like filler. Initially, it seemed as if the vault confession might have tied up some loose ends from “Pink Slip,” but Sarah didn’t budge on the issue until “American Hero,” which made the whole thing seem kind of useless. In my opinion, the season really picked up from here, and aside from “Mask” and “Final Exam,” I really enjoyed what came afterward. I’m glad for that.

  12. sd says:

    Hey all..

    I would like to re-visit some of these episodes…like three words. However, Hulu and NBC don’t have them posted. I didn’t see it on the WB website (maybe didn’t look in the right place?)

    Anyway…are you guys watching cause you Tivo’d or do you have to download off i-tunes?


    • atcdave says:

      I download off iTunes. Even the episodes I don’t like! I do want to help the revenues, if WB can make enough from all sources it makes broadcast ratings less important.

  13. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Three Words (3.02) | Chuck This

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